Who Is Covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Any bodily injury, illness, or worsening of pre-existing conditions caused by accidents at work are covered by workers’ compensation insurance in the state of Massachusetts. Both documented and undocumented workers are eligible, as well as volunteers and people who work for no pay. The injury must extend past five calendar days in order to qualify for workers’ compensation, but the days do not have to be consecutive. Additionally, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you do not need to prove that anyone was negligent. Even if you were at fault, you still get workers’ compensation benefits.
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you are injured on the job, your workers’ compensation benefits will include a percentage of your lost wages, which varies based on the injury and is capped at a maximum amount set by the state every year.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be eligible for:
- Permanent and total disability: If you become totally and permanently disabled and cannot return to work, you may receive 2/3 of your average weekly wages that you earned before the accident (Massachusetts Law Chapter 152, Section 34).
- Temporary total disability: If you are unable to work for more than five days due to your workplace injury, you may be eligible to receive 60% of your weekly wages for up to three years.
- Partial disability: If you become partially disabled as a result of your injury, meaning that you can return to work but cannot perform at your previous earning capacity, you may receive 60% of your average weekly wages before the injury for up to five years (Massachusetts Law Chapter 152, Section 35).
Other available workers’ compensation benefits cover:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of function
- Death/Survival benefits
- Out-of-pocket expenses (crutches, wheelchairs, etc.)
- Property damage
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Physical therapy
Massachusetts Law Chapter 152, Section 28 states that workers’ compensation benefits will be doubled if the injury is caused by the employers’ “serious and willful misconduct.” This means that if an employer maintains a workplace that is dangerous and violates health and safety codes, you may be eligible for double workers’ compensation benefits.
Massachusetts Law Chapter 152, Section 31 states that a surviving spouse may receive death benefits from the deceased’s employer as long as she remains living, unmarried, and not fully self-supporting.